Picture it, a cool, cloudless night, a new-ish Ford driven by some hot guy cruising down an oddly empty highway. His hand brushed mine, “You ok?” I nodded.
My excitement from earlier in the day had mostly burned off because of nerves and if I’d spoken, the quiver in my voice might have exposed my anxiety.
He turned up the radio, oblivious to the butterflies in my stomach and hummed along. He was fine, of course he was, it’s not like this was his first time or anything.
Nope. I was the newbie here, and it probably showed on my face.
He turned the radio station and an ad for Sesame Street on Ice came on. “We should take the kids this year,” he said. And that’s when the tears fell.
He fumbled, with one hand, toward the glove compartment, “Are you kidding me? Don’t do this…it’s ok…you’re ok…it’s ok.”
I grabbed at the discarded Starbucks napkins thrown my way. Yes, I was a 35 year old woman melting down in the passenger seat of my husband’s SUV. But it was my first night away from the kids in 7 years…you’d be a mess too.
Wait. Where did you think I was going with that story? You pervert, this ain’t that kind of blog!
Anyway, back to how we got here: same as most other stay at home moms, I guess.
It gets easier to fall on your sword the more you practice and I'd perfected the art of sacrifice. But eventually, it got old.
I’d complain to friends about feeling tired and overworked and they’d ask why I never just got away from it all. They didn’t buy my line about the kids being too small and with my mom only a plane ride away and always eager to see her grandkids, it seemed silly not to ask for a favor for something this important.
And so we found ourselves here, on our way out of town for a quick weekend jaunt. Honestly, considering my usual level of anxiety, I’d been pretty good about the idea of my almost-vacation. After getting the house squared away and the refrigerator stocked with snacks, I gave my mom a rundown of rules (basically an exercise in futility since she’s a pushover and long ago declared that the kids could get away with anything short of murder as long as they said please first) and I was off on my way. Coincidentally, my two oldest got into an argument shortly before my departure and I almost gleefully ran to the car eager to start my trip a whole 5 minutes early.
It was a full hour into our drive before the uneasiness set in. What was I doing? I’d left my children: helpless, miniature beings who’s only fault was that they loved me so much they couldn’t even leave me alone to pee. Do you know how much you have to care for someone to not even let them relieve waste without you?! And my mother…my poor senior citizen of a mother (here’s where she disowns me)…I left her with 3 wildlings that would turn on her as soon as they ran out of popsicles. What kind of neglectful jerk was I?
|Photographic re-enactment of my mother lamenting her thoughtless daughter.|
And so I panicked. Frozen, I sat in my seat staring out of the window and lamenting where it’d all gone wrong. Images of my Mother of the Year award shattered as Jesus himself looked down on me with an epic holy side-eye.
It was a very quiet ride to the hotel. My husband accepted my melancholy by comforting me with awkward pats on the arm and hushed tones, suitable for my overly dramatic, barely stifled sorrow. What can I say, he gets me.
We pulled up (to a much nicer resort than what I had in mind) and headed to our room. Sniffling, I peaked at my surroundings with growing wonder. As we reached the room, he reminded me that there was still a presentation for him to prepare and that he needed to meet with some of his coworkers. I started to mention how I’d probably just check in on the kids some more (I’d called 3 times over the past 2 hours) when he interrupted.
“I wanted to surprise you,” he said uncomfortably, “I made appointments at the spa thing. It’s downstairs. You don’t have to go though. Are you ok?”
Did someone say spa?
I managed to quell my grief long enough to accept his offer. But it was with lingering remorse that I sat and awaited my massage. When champagne was offered I took it…halfheartedly. I begrudgingly wasted time in the sauna and thought only of my adorable 2 little cherubs…or was it 3? A deep tissue scrub has a way of making you forget.
It’s not that I was happy to leave my precious babes, you understand. I was beside myself and lost without them, really. Those cheesecake bites I stuffed myself with were only to mask my pain. Room service was merely my coping mechanism.
The day got away from me somehow though and by the time my husband made it back to the room, I was napping (sadly, of course). All in all, I managed to make it through the weekend with minimal panic attacks in between cocktail hours and schmoozing with “The Wives.”
My mom texted me occasionally with pictures of waving, dirty-faced but happy kids. They wished me a fun weekend and sent their love. Apparently the world didn’t end with my departure. I won’t say I enjoyed myself (I’m too stubborn for that), I’ll merely note that I soldiered on…the way my children would’ve wanted me to. A few days away won’t destroy my family, I suppose. They deserve a well-rested, sane mother…and who am I to deny them their wish.